Interview with Maurice Roberts


Interview with Maurice Roberts


Born in Manchester, he was 20 years old in 1940 when he joined up and volunteered for aircrew. He trained in South Africa, Canada (Moncton and Trenton), the Unites States (Lakeland), and was torpedoed in the Atlantic on his way back. Maurice flew Tiger Moths, Oxfords, Wellingtons, and Halifaxes. After being stationed at a Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Lossiemouth, he was posted to 51 Squadron at RAF Snaith. He recollects operations to Essen, Cologne, Ludwigshafen and Chemnitz, mentioning 8-hour trips made possible by amphetamines ('Wakey-wakey' pills), heavy anti-aircraft fire, FIDO, and bomb-struck aircraft. On another occasion they were diverted to a Lincolnshire airfield for which they had not got the maps and couldn’t locate it. Having resigned to the fact that they would have to set a course out over the North Sea and then bail out, at the last moment Maurice spotted a light on the airfield and was able to land safely. They once had to land with a 2000 lb bomb still on board, which his crew considered the best landing he had ever done. In May 1945, he did 12 operations for bomb disposal in the North Sea, taking off from RAF Driffield. In June, with 10 Squadron and a new crew at RAF Melbourne, he flew C-47s training for operations on Japan, then was posted to the Far East. While stationed in Karachi, Maurice dropped supplies in the jungle. Demobilised in 1946, he pursued a career in engineering retiring as a manager – Maurice maintains that wartime service helped built his character. He stayed in touch with other 51 Squadron veterans through their association. In addition to his decorations, he was awarded the Legion of Honour.



IBCC Digital Archive




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00:54:47 audio recording




ARobertsM200219, PRobertsM2001

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Harry Bartlett, “Interview with Maurice Roberts,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 28, 2021,

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